COVID-19: A Looming humanitarian disaster for Somali East Africa

As the COVID-19 virus spreads on the African continent, Somalis in Africa and around the world fear a devastating humanitarian disaster is in the making. While complex crises are not news in this part of the world, this time is different. Not only are there warnings that the Somali peninsula could become one of the worst hit areas on the globe; the global Somali diaspora is affected as well.

The world is struggling to respond to the coronavirus as COVID-19 transmission proceeds to escalate. Only few cases have been recorded in the Somali region so far but, due to absent and inadequate health services, there is fear that the pandemic may hit extremely hard. The chairman of the Somali Medical Association in Mogadishu, Mohamed Mohamud Ali, told Aljazeera that the death toll in Somalia could be unimaginable, with the risk of more people dying in Somalia than anywhere in the world. In the self-declared but internationally unrecognized Republic of Somaliland, Dr Edna Aden, founder of Edna Adan Hospital and former Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently issued an international humanitarian medical appeal for support, describing Somaliland as “helpless in the face of a medical emergency of this magnitude”.